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Category Archives: Parenting

Love Local, Be Local

by Amanda

        Let’s talk local and community for a minute.

       Last night I had a great evening attending the Fraser Valley Boss Ladies networking event and ended up sitting beside a sweet woman who not only makes the most ADORABLE pies In A Jar but is also the creator of Loving Local in Chilliwack, BC.  She creates events/markets that bring vendors, live music, food trucks and so much more together.  I told her that she was awesome and how big of an undertaking that must be!  But honestly, I love her idea of bring local people together to create a community of support and empowerment.  For business and personally. She wrote this on her page:

Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success ~ Henry Ford

        I love this as it relates so much to building up your village around birth and raising children together.  I’m not talking communal living here, although how sweet would that be?!  I mean having people around you who build you up daily, pouring into your life and you into theirs.  They sit with you over coffee and listen to your struggles, they help you discover the answers, and shine joy back into you. They come alongside as your children grow to be beautiful role models and help guide them through the harder times.  Did you have this growing up?  Aunts and Uncles perhaps, or maybe family friends?  It made all the difference in my life… especially as a teenager, but you know what?  That village was created long before I became a teenager with the trust and love already established. I want this for my children.

 

Happy loving family. mother and child girl playing, kissing and hugging

Pregnancy is tough.  Birth is tough.  Raising children is tough.  It’s time to build your village.

If you don’t already have people in your “village”, I want to challenge you today to reach out.  Build relationships by joining groups (online and in real life), talking to your neighbors and creating a space in your home that is open for others to come in. It starts with you. Go and be local.

Also, check out Loving Local’s event in August called “Made In The Valley”.  I will definitely be there!

-Amanda, Owner & Doula

Fraser Valley’s Premier Doula Group providing everything you need for your BEST birth and postpartum!

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Business Manager (and more!): Please welcome Kara

by Amanda

The Yellow Bird Team is at it again!  We are busy creating a strong team of women ready to support you and your community.  We are thrilled to announce that Kara Wieler will be joining the team as Business Manager and Bereavement & Stillbirth Doula in Training.  She is skilled and educated in business operations and has a beautiful heart for women and birth.

Read more about Kara below.

Doula Still Birth 1

Kara Wieler!

I am an adventurer, a business woman and a mother of two very active boys aged 2 and 4. My passions are traveling, helping mothers and living outside of my comfort zone.

After living the last year and a half out of a travel trailer, touring western Canada with my husband and children, I am ready to settle down and start serving the community that I grew up in.

This December, I came to Chilliwack to partner with Amanda and Jaclyn at Yellow Bird Birth. Starting January 4th, I will begin a year of education with the StillBirthday Foundation ( http://www.stillbirthday.info/ ) to become a Bereavement & Stillbirth Doula. My hope for after this training is to be able to provide a necessary service to grieving parents during the most difficult time of loss: supporting the birth process and helping parents cope in the stages before and after. I also hope to facilitate a support network for women struggling with miscarriage and fertility problems.

Doula Still Birth

-Yellow Bird Team

Fraser Valley’s Premier Doula Group providing everything you need for your BEST birth and postpartum!

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Power of Wisdom and Experience

by Amanda

Nervous Pregnant

Newly pregnant, I went straight to the local book store and bought an armload of pregnancy and newborn books. I would read them during my lunch breaks at work, at night before bed and any chance I got to sit down and rest. I obsessed with knowing the details since I was nervous about how my body would grow and how at some point I needed to get this baby out of me!

Somehow I thought knowing more facts would take away the anxiety.

My doctor wasn’t much help, bless his heart, he hadn’t personally experience birth and couldn’t relate on an emotional level.  I needed someone to mellow me out and bring me to a place where I could start imagining what I wanted my pregnancy and birth to look and feel like.

You can find advice all over, a group of moms getting together and trying to top each others terrifying births (at least this was my experience) or being told I should “just get the drugs” from online forums, or the best of all.. random people in the grocery store giving me information on how I shouldn’t have a home birth/use a midwife.

Then I found it.  A women who had older children, who was calm, wise and very encouraging.  She had been there, through it all.  She gave me non judgmental advice on enjoying my experience.  Not putting all the focus on the birth but the postpartum period as well.  Making sure I was keeping my marriage strong and involving my husband throughout all the months.  She had power of experience and approached me as a mentor, not someone out to frighten me or give me false expectations.

I appreciate all she did and I want to encourage you to find the same! Someone you can trust and who cares for you.  I’ve had many mentors during different phases in my life and I believe it is how us women are meant to pass on knowledge and live in a loving community together.

-Amanda

Fraser Valley’s Premier Doula Group providing everything you need for your BEST birth and postpartum!

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Prenatal Intensive

by Amanda

Prenatal Intensive: An afternoon of Child Birth Prep

Prenatal Workshop

Sign up today! Email [email protected]

-Amanda & Jaclyn

Fraser Valley’s Premier Doula Group providing everything you need for your BEST birth!

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Postpartum Doula: Please Welcome Jennifer!

by Amanda

Yellow Bird Birth is ecstatic to announce that Jennifer will be joining the team starting in January!

She will be our lovely POSTPARTUM Doula and we know you are going to ADORE her!

Postpartum Doula

Hello there! My name is Jennifer and I am a birth/postpartum doula. A little bit about myself first, I love singing, cooking, hiking, snowboarding and all things birth and postpartum.

My love for birth and postpartum began when I had my own three children. Through experiencing three entirely different births and recoveries, I felt a strong pull towards women/parents during these times that ultimately led me to become a Doula. As women venture into the “fourth trimester” they can feel many different emotions, and I strongly feel that this time is so very important to the parent and family. My areas of knowledge are in newborn baby care, breastfeeding/formula feeding, preparing good sleep habits, food sensitive babies, and also babies who tend to have fussy/spirited temperaments. I am excited and honoured to assist you in your journey of parenthood, its an amazing ride!

-Jennifer Victor

Fraser Valley’s Premier Doula Group providing everything you need for your BEST birth!

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Car Seat Safety Part 2: Choosing A Seat

by Amanda

Where to start when choosing a car seat for your baby

Choosing a car seat for your baby-on-the-way doesn’t seem like too difficult a task…until you walk into a store, or start searching online and see all the options. And then how do you choose? Maybe a friend or relative has had a baby recently so you ask them what they have. Maybe you just decide to find one in a colour you like. Some people like to pick a stroller first and then see what car seat is compatible with that stroller. These are helpful starting points, but it can get more complicated than that.

Every vehicle, baby and adult comes in all shapes & sizes, and families have budget that vary as well. This can create some challenges. Are there other children, pets or adults that travel in the vehicle too? Is there a possibility of baby being pre-term or low birth weight? As a car seat tech, we take all these things into consideration when making suggestions.

woman choosing child car seat for newborn baby in shop supermarket

Things to keep in mind when shopping for an infant only car seat (Some convertible car seats may be used from birth, but I would talk to a certified tech or do some extra research before taking that route. It’s just as safe as using an infant only seat, provided the seat fits your newborn and is able to be installed at the required newborn angle in your vehicle):

-Weight & Height limits. Infant seats in Canada generally fall into the range from 4-35lbs and have a maximum height limit of between 29-32” (74-81cm). Most infant only car seats have upper weight limits of 22, 30, 32 or 35lbs.

Most of us are more familiar with weights of babies & children. We focus on that number and it is important, but the majority of kids will outgrow their car seats by height before they ever reach the weight limit. If you are trying to decide between a 30 or 35lb version of a seat, and you & your partner are tall, I would opt for the one with the higher height limit as opposed to being fixated on the weight. To give you some perspective, the 50th percentile girl will reach 30lbs around age 3. My 16 month old nephew is a big boy at 30lbs, and lands above the 97th percentile on the growth chart. On the other hand, many babies will put on weight fast in the first few months and can be 22lbs by 4 months of age, and you might not be ready to start using a convertible (RF & FF seat that remains installed in the vehicle). Babies generally slow down their weight gain, so don’t panic that your child is going to outgrow the infant seat soon if your baby is 15lbs at 8 weeks!

-Lowest Harness Slot. This might be one of the most important things to look for. There are several seats we do not recommend because they do not fit an average newborn at all.

The box says it fits from 5lbs, so why won’t a 7lb baby fit? Because the harness straps must be AT or BELOW the baby’s shoulders and if the lowest harness slot isn’t low enough, the baby is too small for the seat. All the infant seats on our recommended list have low enough slots to accommodate even small babies because they all have low enough harness slots or positions. How to check: when you are at a store that has infant seats on display, look at the distance from the crease of the seat (where baby’s bum would be), to the lowest slot. Compare a few seats. You may notice some have a much greater distance. A long torso baby may fit just fine in these seats, but that’s a gamble. If you are at risk of preterm or low birth weight babies, this is especially important. Currently, all seats that start at 4lbs also have low harness slots to accommodate small babies.

-Fit to Vehicle.

Some seats are more narrow than others. Some are shorter front to back. If you have other people or child seats in your vehicle or if the front to back (leg room) situation is short, these are very important factors.

Some bases have built in lock offs that make install the base securely easier than with the seat-belt alone, if lower anchors (UAS) are not available in that seating position. All bases have UAS hooks included although some seating positons (mostly the centre seat) do not allow borrowing the anchors from the outer seating positions so require a seatbelt install. Some vehicles do not have UAS (any vehicle made after 2001 will have at least two seating positions with UAS), so seatbelt install is required. Do not use both UAS AND seatbelt together. It’s one or the other, not both. They are equally safe as long as the install is correct. Always read your manual to see what is permitted for your specific seat.

Vehicles come with all sorts of slopes on their 2nd row seats. Some bases are adjustable while others require the use of a tightly rolled towel or pool noodle segments to achieve a proper newborn recline. Having the seat installed at the proper recline is very important as it helps keep a newborns airway clear.

-Ease of Use.

Can this seat be installed easily in most vehicles? Does the handle require a specific locked position when driving that is going to be an issue? Can this seat be installed baseless easily when we ride in other vehicles other than our primary car? Is this seat heavy, even when empty and going to be an issue to carry around when a larger baby is in it? These are all great question and a friendly CRST would be happy to answer these questions for you!

Contacting a car seat tech can help you narrow your search to specific seats that meet your needs, are best suited for your vehicle and fit your budget. There are some fantastic seats on the low end of the budget scale, so you don’t always have to pay big bucks on a seat that you may use for under a year.

More expensive seat might not necessarily mean they are safer, but have certain features that make use easier or may fit your vehicle better.

Need help? Have questions?

Find a nationally certified CRST (Child Restraint Systems Technician) near you here!

Find a tech

A great resource is our friends over at Vancouver Island Car Seat Techs. They keep an up-to-date compilation of recommended Canadian car seats. If you don’t see the seat you’ve been eyeing on this list, there’s likely a good reason it’s missing. : http://vicarseattechs.com/our-favourite-seats/infant-seats/

-https://www.facebook.com/groups/FraserValleyCarSeatSafety/

Janice Kampman, CRST

I’m a Fraser Valley based car seat technician, passionate about child passenger safety. I have 4 young kids and usually 5 car seats installed in my van. I love working with people to figure out a 3-across that works for their vehicle, testing fit of car seats in clients vehicles (with my vast collection of seats!) and advising people of what seat would work best for their situation. You can contact me here:

[email protected]

Fraser Valley’s Primer Doula Group providing everything you need for your BEST birth!

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What Are We Up To This Fall?

by Amanda

First off.. Welcome to our blog if this is your first time visiting! Second.. we are exciting to announce:

BABY & TOT SHOW!

Once again you will be able to find your FAVORITE doulas at the Baby & Tot show in Abbotsford, BC.

(if you look really close in the video you will see lots of footage of our beautiful booth from last year!)

BC’s Largest Baby & Toddler Expo

October 24 2015 – 10am – 5pm

October 25 2015 11am -4pm

Tradex – Trade & Exhibition Centre in Abbotsford

1190 Cornell Street Abbotsford, BC  V2T 6H5

downloadLovely-Baby

  • Shop & sample over 150 exhibitors
  • Get educated on everything you need to know from pregnancy to birth & beyond!
  • Chat with experts behind your favorite brands & save big with show specials!
  • Enter to win a Gourmet ALL INCLUSIVE 8 day/7 night Family trip for four at Azul Fives Hotel, by Karisma Mexico! Courtesy of Flight Centre Associates  
  • LOTS to see & do for your little ones! From our play area to meet & greet with their favorite characters, it will be a feast for their little eyes & ears!

There’s so much to see and do at The Baby & Tot Show! A valuable event for expectant parents & families.

Stay tuned for ticket giveaways, Yellow Bird Birth’s grand prize draws and so much more!

 

 

-Amanda & Jaclyn

Fraser Valley’s Premier Doula Group providing everything you need for your BEST birth!

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Car Seat Safety Part 1: First Ride

by Amanda

Car Seat Safety Part 1: First Ride

It’s a moment that can make parenthood real. Your new baby has been in the safe confines of amniotic fluid, and more recently, surrounded by the safe walls of home or hospital. Now your baby is on their first car ride, and you realize that there are thousands of people in cars & trucks zooming past you that don’t even realize, and shockingly don’t even care, that you have a precious new baby in the back seat!

You might nervously sit in the front seat and wonder how your baby is doing so far away and alone in the back seat. You might be sitting right.there.beside her. Your chauffeur may be extra careful to signal well in advance, drive slightly more defensively and maybe slower than normal. This is the first drive of many.

Feelings of concerns for your baby’s safety are justified. Crashes happen. People are still texting, drinking, being distracted and making mistakes behind the wheel. Tires blow, unsecured loads fall off, and drivers fall asleep. Our newer vehicles have so many safety features built in, that we don’t even realize they are there until we need them. Airbags are hidden all over the interior and crumple zones are designed to protect the occupants. We all know about the seatbelt, and that it is extremely effective in reducing injury & death. But seatbelts are designed for the average sized adult man, and many of the airbags too (this is the main reason children under 13 should NOT be in the front passenger seat).

So how do we protect our new, tiny baby today and in the years ahead? The answer is both simple and complicated. Simple: Use a child restraint that fits your child and is installed and used correctly every time. Complicated: How do we know what fits my child? What seat fits in my car? Are expensive seats better? How DO I install my child’s seat correctly? When do we move to the next stage?

There are stats all over saying up to 90% of child restraints are installed incorrectly, so asking a friend that is already a parent, might not give you the correct advice. One infant seat that worked great for your 9lb 22.5” niece might not be the best choice for your 5.5lb 18” bundle of joy. So who can you turn to for advice?

A nationally certified Child Restraint System’s Techician (CRST…or car seat tech), is there to help! Some chose to become techs to complement their day jobs while others of us are just parents wanting to make a difference in our communities. We are passionate about Child Passenger Safety and helping parents & caregivers keep their children safe. Most of us are volunteers and are not compensated by anyone.

What does a car seat tech do?

-We recommend seats! Just because it’s a Rear Facing Only infant carrier, or it says ‘Starting at 5lbs!’, doesn’t mean it will fit a newborn well. We take into account your specific vehicle (make/model/year), if you or your partner is tall or short, whether or not you have other passengers riding along in the back seats and your budget when suggesting a seat.

-We meet with you in person. Go over your vehicle & car seat manuals. We check your install for tightness and correct recline angle. Show you how to install your seat using UAS (lower anchors) or seatbelt. We will show you how to adjust the seat to fit your baby and go over other do’s & don’ts of the infant car seat. Answer any question you have, and if we don’t have the answer we will ask our tech friends if they have the answer! Finally, we will get you to install the seat so you are confident you can do it yourself correctly!

-We explain the best practices for child passenger safety. Most medical associations recommend rear facing until the minimum age of 2, or preferably longer. Ask us why the overwhelming evidence proves this saves lives and significantly reduces injury.

Need help? Have questions?

Find a nationally certified CRST (Child Restraint Systems Technician) near you here!

Find a tech

A great resource is our friends over at Vancouver Island Car Seat Techs. They keep an up-to-date compilation of recommended Canadian car seats. If you don’t see the seat you’ve been eyeing on this list, there’s likely a good reason it’s missing.

Infant Seats

https://www.facebook.com/groups/FraserValleyCarSeatSafety/

Janice Kampman, CRST

I’m a Fraser Valley based car seat technician, passionate about child passenger safety. I have 4 young kids and usually 5 car seats installed in my van. I love working with people to figure out a 3-across that works for their vehicle, testing fit of car seats in clients vehicles (with my vast collection of seats!) and advising people of what seat would work best for their situation. You can contact me here:

[email protected]

Yellow Bird Birth

Doula | Placenta Encapsulation | Birth Pool Rentals in the Fraser Valley, including Abbotsford and Chilliwack

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The Crazy of Tandem Nursing

by Amanda

The Crazy of Tandem Nursing

Happy World Breastfeeding Week!!! I would love to share with you my adventure in breastfeeding, more specifically, what tandem nursing has looked like in my life and in my children’s.

I always knew I wanted to breastfeed. I was encouraged by an amazing network of experienced mamas who supported me and my choice to breastfeed my first, even before I had her. Our nursing relationship started within the first hour of her birth and besides the first two weeks of constantly being latched (and the discomfort that came with that), our relationship grew and progressed very positively. I only once didn’t have enough milk, and that’s because I didn’t pump enough before leaving on an anniversary trip with my husband. But my sisters, who thankfully were also both breastfeeding their babies, shared some milk they had stored up and I had an amazing weekend away.

I had the goal of nursing to two years old, but that was more of a milestone than an end date.

Fast forward to having a nursing toddler and being pregnant with my son. I didn’t realize it, but my milk supply pretty much dried up. I had never heard the term “dry nursing” until recently, but that is what my daughter was doing. I was a bit sore and had to set boundaries and cut feedings short now and then because I was uncomfortable, but I still enjoyed nursing throughout my pregnancy and wasn’t ready to give it up.

Breast feeding two sisters twin baby girls at same time.

When my son was born, my colostrum came in, then my milk came back with full force…..ouch! The first month of tandem nursing was tough. The first few weeks after birth are generally no walk in the park, but adjusting to life with two nursing children left me exhausted and an emotional mess. My daughter started acting like her two year old self, tantruming daily, demanding my milk and attention constantly. I felt guilty every time I had to tell her to wait for milkies or cuddles. My son was pretty easy and loved sleeping on his own, what a blessing that was, and he always was the priority to feed, change, and sleep! But I was in a constant state of planning the next feeds and naps and meals for my daughter and I, stressing about the crying fits…from all three of us!

Then I had an epiphany. I realized if I stopped nursing my daughter that day, she would be completely fine. If I ended our nursing relationship, that would be 100% okay for both of us. We had 2 amazing years, and she is a well adjusted, securely attached, and healthy 2 year old who knows she is loved and cared for! There would be no negatives (besides the initial emotions) for either of us, there actually would be some positives for me! So I decided I would stop nursing her, and be okay with it, whenever I chose.

Terms like Extended Breastfeeding, Child Led Weaning, and Tandem Nursing filled my Facebook newsfeed daily, and I used to feel like I wasn’t a good enough mom unless I made those things happen. But I got real with myself and my family needs. My daughter didn’t NEED to be breastfeeding and I didn’t NEED to nurse her. We would be okay.

Suddenly the pressure was off. I gave myself the space and the control of our nursing relationship. I set some boundaries, I only nurse at bedtimes and wake ups (4 times a day), and sometimes less or more depending on our happenings of the day. Nursing her became then enjoyable again, a special mommy-only time that I treasure. I believe Child Led Weaning can be a beautiful thing, and I plan to continue nursing as long as it works for both of us (and my family as a whole). But it is okay to be done, feel like it is no longer a good thing, or even need to cut down on the number of feeds. It is OKAY! And Good! And as a mother, I will give myself that space for a healthy relationship with my child, whether that means nursing or not.

Breastfeeding two little sisters twin girls at same time

Mother’s discontinue breastfeeding for many reasons. We will all come to a point where we no longer are nursing, and there needs to be healthy talk about those times of transitions. They can be emotional, stressful, confusing, and physically difficult (your hormones might go crazy!). We hope that your time nursing ends in a joyful, peaceful way that benefits both mother and child. If you are struggling with your breastfeeding journey, please contact us. We have amazing Lactation Consultants and trusted support resources for breastfeeding moms, lets make breastfeeding work for you and your baby!

-Jaclyn

Doula and Placenta Encapsulation Specialist in the Fraser Valley, including Abbotsford and Chilliwack

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Happy Mother’s Day!

by Amanda

Mother NewbornTo My Children on Mothers Day

No one else

will ever know

the strength

of my love

for you.

After all, you two are the

only ones

who know

what my heart sounds like

from the inside.

Author Unknown

-Amanda

Doula and Mommy of Two

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